Film Criticism for People Who Think They Hate Film Criticism!

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06/02/2010 3:31 PM |


“Take Continuum’s beloved 33 1/3 series and put it in a blender with the BFI’s revered Film Classics and you get Deep Focus,” boasts Soft Skull‘s fall catalog, about a new series of short critical works on individual films, by pop-engaged writers. First up, in November, is Jonathan Lethem (of course), on the cultural matrix surrounding John Carpenter’s They Live; up next is Christopher Sorrentino, with a political and urban-studies reading of Death Wish.

I look forward to both, and to those that seem almost sure to follow. Soft Skull hits the likely appeal perfectly in their catalog: “A populist approach to cinema: Everyone loves movies, but not everyone loves to read film criticism. The purposeful pairing of writers outside the movie world with a favorite film of their choosing promises to reach a much wider audience than the typical film book.” It’s funny, by which I may actually mean “it’s depressing”, how aptly that pitch sums up why the books will be popular, and how utterly it misses why they’ll be good.